Best Paint for a Hallway (emulsion and Woodwork)

Updated May 13, 2024 | Posted Jun 6, 2022 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 2 comments

As a decorator, it’s fair to say I’ve done a few hallways in my time. A lot of homeowners seem to put a lot of thought into kitchen and bathroom paint, but don’t even consider which paint products should be used when talking a hall, stairs, and landing. This is a bit silly in my opinion because paint in a hallway needs to perform well in a unique environment. 

Let’s look at emulsion first. A hallway is what I’d call a “high traffic area” and walls are prone to being scuffed or marked. So, a durable matt emulsion is often needed. However, because of the amount of polymer binder in durable matt, some brands show defects such as picture framing and flashing. These defects show more in a hallway than in any other room in the house, simply because you’re looking along the walls, rather than square onto them. What you need is a durable emulsion with a very low-sheen level and leaves a flawless finish… Easier said than done, right?

Then you have your woodwork, which causes another headache! Without boring you with too much of the the science of oil-based paints, EU restrictions now limit the amount of chemicals known as VOCs a manufacturer is allowed to use in paint such as satinwood and gloss. The knock-on effect is oil-based paints now quickly discolour in rooms that do not have a lot of natural light (such as hallways). Because of this, you’re much better sticking with water-based paint in a hallway, rather than traditional oil.

OK, we now know the criteria paint products need to meet to make them suitable for use in a hall, stairs, and landing. I’m now going to go into what I think are the very best paint products available.


Best Emulsion for a Hallway

Tikkurila Vinyl Matt

This is a new product from Tikkurila and is the best value emulsion on this list. Available online, Tikkurila will match any colour from a rival brand. Contrary to what I said we needed in the opening two paragraphs; the sheen level of this paint is slightly high. However, you will experience nothing in the way of flashing or picture framing and the overall finish is lovely.

This paint is great to use and just seems to fly on. Opacity is fantastic, and it comes with a class 2 scrub rating, meaning the paint is more durable than other vinyl matt paints. This is one of my favourite emulsions on the market right now! Full review here.

Tikkurila vinyl matt is a good emulsion for a hallway
best emulsion for a hallway

Teknos Pro5

Teknos Pro5 is a durable matt emulsion with a very low-sheen level. You can buy it online, and they will match a colour from any other paint brand. This is a relatively new product to me, but I’ve been using it for the past few months or so and love it.

You’ll find the opacity of this paint bang on, and it is very durable once cured. You can easily wipe scuff marks from your walls without damaging the paint. You can even touch this paint up if needed, which is a rare quality nowadays. The overall finish is rich and luxurious! Full review here. This is a paint I’d highly recommend. Click here to see online prices.


Tikkurila Optiva 3 Ceramic Super Matt

This paint is also available online by clicking here and you can also get it matched into a colour from a different brand.

Apart from some specialist ceiling paints, optiva 3 is the lowest sheen out of all the emulsion products I have used. It’s a durable matt too, which is another bonus. The finish on this paint is to die for!! Such a lovely depth of colour and it shows up absolutely no blemishes!

Opacity is ok, you should apply a coat of Optiva Primer, followed by a couple of coats of Optiva 3. I know this paint is more expensive than Tikkurila vinyl matt, but it really is worth every penny, and it is perfect for a hallway!!


best gloss for a hallway
Benjamin Moore Scuff x Vs WRX - which is the best fully water-based satinwood

The Best Paint for Woodwork in a Hallway


Most people opt for satinwood nowadays. Luckily, we’re new spoiled with great water-based satin paint products. My favourite is WRX satin, which is fully water-based, can be applied directly to old oil-based gloss, is very easy to use and leaves an amazing finish!

Another great option is Johnstone’s Aqua Guard, which is readily available online by clicking here, or any Johnstone’s Decorating Centre. This paint is very durable, easy to use and looks great. If you’re going for a tinted colour, then this is the satinwood you should look at.

If budget allows and you want the very best, then Benjamin Moore Scuff x is the paint for you. Very easy to use and by far the best finish out of all these paints. It is expensive though. Click here to see online prices.

The best gloss paint to use in a hallway must be Teknos Futura Aqua 90. This is a hybrid formula, with a sheen level like true oil-base. I love this product!! Ensure you use the proper primer to create a solid base for the topcoat. Click here to see online prices.


Final Thoughts


There are a lot of factors to think about when choosing the best paint for a hallway. You don’t just need it to look good, but you also want it to look good for a few years until you’re ready to redecorate again. By following this blog (even if you don’t take my recommendations on paint brands), you can’t go wrong.


I hope it helps.

Updated May 13, 2024 | Posted Jun 6, 2022 | 2 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Phil

    Have to agree with you on the Tik vinyl matt. Used it for the First time the other day and it’s just beautiful gear. The tint was spot on to a F&B colour the customer wanted. The finish did feel slightly different from other vinyl matts I’ve used but in no way a bad thing. Definitely my go to now.

  2. Mark Jerome

    The best paint for woodwork in a hallway for me is tikkurila intact paint.
    I love the undercoat, it goes on so smoothly and leaves no brush marks and then two coats of intact paint leaves a lovely solid finish.
    I have also used the tikkurila vinyl matt and agree it’s a fantastic emulsion.


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